Category Archives: Fabric Art

Art primarily using fabric as its basis.

Two

Two, 3rd St Gallery, Pia De GirolamoGreen River Blue Mountain, Pia De Girolamo

Pia De Girolamo: Mountain Series and Carol Wisker: Accumulators.

Two Curated Exhibitions at 3rd Street Gallery

November 1-26, 2017

The 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia, PA presents solo exhibitions by Pia De Girolamo and Carol Wisker, November 1-26. For Mountain Series, curator Christine Stoughton, Instructor of Aesthetics at the Barnes Foundation has selected a group of abstract landscape paintings for De Girolamo’s 3rd Street Gallery debut solo exhibition. Acting as a pictorial element across the series, the mountain is also a potent symbol of challenge, risk and refuge.

Long time 3SG member, Carol Wisker presents Accumulators, an exhibition of sculptural assemblages, selected by curator Barbara Bassett, the Constance Williams Curator of Education for School and Teacher Programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In Wisker’s recent exhibition Left Behind, the Accumulators brought together textiles and findings from a variety of cultures left behind due to migration. In this new exhibition Wisker extends her definition of the Accumulators to also include aggregations of “created natural growth” in her fiber, wood and textile sculptures.

Highlights:

Artist Reception and Talks: Saturday November 11, 5:00 – 8:00pm.

Artist Talk by Pia De Girolamo: A Wild Peace: Art, Nature and Wellbeing. Saturday November 11, 6:00pm

Artist Talk by Carol Wisker: Accumulator…I Am! Saturday, November 11, 6:30pm.

First Friday: November 3, 5:00 – 9:00pm

Pia De Girolamo: Mountain Series

Curator Christine Stoughton says of De Girolamo’s landscape series: “She strips away the details to capture the vibration of colors, the geometric structure of the forms and the ambient space. While the viewer recognizes these abstracted works as a landscape we are given the opportunity to see this environment in a whole new way, which is what art is all about”.

Pia enjoys being out in nature, especially in the mountains. She finds that the key word in that sentence is “being”.

She states, “All the senses are engaged as I pocket smooth stones, sketch, smell the thyme and clover, taste the tartness of wild plants and listen to the sounds of nature as well as its silence. Then back in the studio, I explore what makes these landscapes beautiful and mysterious to me, letting the natural forms, the surrounding emptiness, and the sense of gravity influence how I use color and shape. As I work, the paintings evolve, and while some of them refer to real places, others spring from composite memories of shapes or vistas. All are a record of what is for me of the essence in these landscapes, whether they are in Iceland, Hawaii, the Canadian Rockies, or the American Southwest”.

In her artist talk, A Wild Peace: Nature, Art and Well-being De Girolamo will talk about her work and also link it to recently elucidated scientific thinking affirming the importance of exposure to nature and art to maintaining the individual’s physical and psychological health.

Pia De Girolamo grew up in New York City and lives in the Philadelphia area. She has had sequential careers, first as an Infectious Diseases physician and since 2003, as a visual artist. Recent exhibitions include the Professional Artist Members Exhibition at Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA and a solo show curated by Inliquid at the Courtyard Mariott at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 2017. Her work is in corporate and individual collections including those of PNC Bank Headquarters in Pittsburgh and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. A full member of 3rd Street Gallery, she is also a member of the Cerulean Gallery Collective, Main Line Art Center, Inliquid.com. Her website is

www.piadegirolamo.com

Curator Christine Stoughton is an art educator, sculptor, printmaker and formerly a practicing psychologist. She is an Instructor in Art Aesthetics at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA and at West Chester University, West Chester, PA. She is also a printmaking instructor at Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA. She has exhibited her work, including public art installations, in Philadelphia and the surrounding region, in New York City, Toronto and in Washington, DC.

Two, 3rd St Gallery, Carol WiskerCumulus, Carol Wisker

Carol Wisker: Accumulators

Curator Barbara Bassett says of Wisker’s installation: “Carol’s work takes what the world leaves behind: hinges, gears, fabric and fibers, furniture and antiques, bones and cocoons… and imbues them with new stories and purpose. In each, we find the familiar transformed, compelling us to look deep within ourselves.”

The works in the abstract Accumulator series are fashioned using the domestic art techniques of crochet, wrapping and braiding to form surface textures on a variety of shapes and forms that will be ceiling, floor and wall-hung. In this exhibition Wisker also presents painting like fiber works created through her hand and finger manipulation of painted wool roving in its basic combed state, depicting multi-colored flora, hills and valleys on round and square fields of dense off-white cotton.

Carol Wisker is a sculptor, painter and installation artist, born in Brooklyn, NY and who now resides in the Philadelphia area. Carol studied textile arts and received a BA in psychology at Mansfield University and her Masters of Education from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her artistic practice included a fifteen-year tenure at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Division of Education and she also instructed art history and studio art in maximum-security men’s Correctional Facilities for twenty years. Wisker’s work is in corporate collections and has been shown in museum exhibitions, most recently at the Delaware Art Museum. She is a member of Philadelphia Sculptors, Assemblage Artists Collective and the da Vinci Art Alliance, and has also participated in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2016 and 2017. She is a member of Inliquid.com and her website is www.carolwisker.com Curator Barbara Bassett is The Constance Williams Curator of Education or School and Teacher Programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has spent over 30 years leading programs and developing resources that encourage children and adults to have rich personal experiences with art.

Two, 3rd St Gallery, Agathe Bouton

Showing in the 3rd Street Annex Gallery: Agathe Bouton: Reflections and Light, a series of monotypes.

3rd Street Gallery, 45 N 2nd Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

www.3rdstreetgallery.com

215- 625-0993

Thank you to Pia De Girolama for the content of this post.

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Dispossessed

Muse Gallery, The Dispossessed, Carolyn Harper Cohen,Homeless (Michelle), Carolyn Harper Cohen, batik and hand dyed fabric that has been pieced, appliqued and quilted by hand, 60″ x 52″

The Dispossessed by Carolyn Harper Cohen

Muse Gallery is pleased to present The Dispossessed by Carolyn Harper Cohen. The exhibition will run from November 1st – November 27th, 2017 with an opening reception First Friday, November 3rd from 5-8:00 p.m.

Carolyn Harper Cohen’s work has a strong social justice component to it as she creates images of people or groups who have been marginalized, discriminated against, or abused. Each of the works in this exhibit is of a particular Philadelphian; someone living in an area homeless shelter or on the streets. Many of these individuals are children. The works provide faces to those who are faceless, nameless and powerless, and bear witness to those who are suffering. The beauty that the artistic process brings to the images creates a tension with the inherent cruelty of the lives of the subjects; in admiring the works, the viewer becomes almost complicit in their abuse and neglect.

Muse Gallery, The Dispossessed, Carolyn Harper Cohen,Homeless (Alexus), hand pieced, hand sewn quilt, 40″ x 48″, Carolyn Harper Cohen

The works consist of either hand embroidered batiks or hand sewn large art quilts. The methods are layered, as are the colors. The work is tactile and raw rather than slick; the fabric hand dyed, each stitch obsessively sewn by hand. The engrossing surface quality slows down perception, encouraging viewers to react to the work in a very deliberate way.

This work can be seen within the context of ‘craftivism’: a term coined in 2003 by writer Betsy Greer which can be defined as “a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite.”

Craft has traditionally been viewed as ‘women’s work’ and as such was marginalized and undervalued, but the craft techniques in this work can be seen as subverting the traditional genre of portraiture. Piecing fabric together creates an image that is quite different, and less real, than a painting, which oftentimes seeks to imitate and/or idealize the person being portrayed. Instead, Carolyn Harper Cohen has searched to find the individual and emotional human character of each individual.

www.carolyncohenart.com

Thank you to Carolyn Harper Cohen for the content of this post.

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Phulkari

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab, PMATota Bagh Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, buttonhole, and chain stitches, 7 feet 8 3/4 inches × 56 inches (235.6 × 142.2 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab
from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, 
Joan Spain Gallery, Perelman Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection

Through July 9, 2017

Phulkari, meaning “flower work” (phul = flower, kari = work), is an embroidery originally made throughout Punjab, a region now straddling Pakistan and India. Traditionally, the base cloth was locally handspun and handwoven cotton called khaddar. The thread, called pat, was unplied silk usually imported from China. The dominant embroidery stitch is the darning stitch (a straight stitch in parallel rows), although artists interspersed it with other stitches. Perhaps because of thread’s high cost, most pieces show embroidery only on one side of the cloth.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabSainchi Phulkari/Nilak Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, running, chain, and buttonhole stitches, glass mirrors, 7 feet 5 inches × 53 inches (226.1 × 134.6 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkaris were a crucial part of a Punjabi woman’s material wealth. Young girls learned needlework from their older female relatives and friends. Often they made phulkaris for their own dowries, which they brought with them to their husbands’ home when they married. Primarily intended as large shawls worn draped over the head, phulkaris could also function as bedding or wall hangings for special functions. While each phulkari is unique, they may be grouped into types by designs and background colors with names such as thirma (white), sainchi (figurative), or bagh (garden).

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabDarshan Dwar Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun, handwoven cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, pattern darning, buttonhole, herringbone, running and Cretan stitches, 7 feet 5 inches × 50 inches (226.1 × 127 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Highlighted here are nineteen superb phulkaris from the Bonovitz Collection, promised gifts to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All were probably created before the Partition of Pakistan and India in 1947.  Also included is a small selection of traditional phulkaris from the Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition concludes with a creative twenty-first century reinvention of phulkari in the high fashion garments of Manish Malhotra, one of India’s leading designers.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabSainchi Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk, cotton, and wool embroidery in darning, pattern darning, buttonhole, herringbone, running, chain and Cretan stitches, 7 feet 5 1/2 inches × 48 1/2 inches (227.3 × 123.2 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

This exhibition is made possible by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, The Coby Foundation, Ltd., and The Stella Kramrisch Indian and Himalayan Art Fund.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabBagh Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in darning, pattern darning, running, chain and cross stitches, 8 feet 3 3/4 inches × 59 1/2 inches (253.4 × 151.1 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabPhulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in running, darning, pattern darning, herringbone, split, stem and cross stitches, 9 feet 5 inches × 58 inches (287 × 147.3 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabPhulkari, Early 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, running, herringbone, and double running stitches, 8 feet 6 1/2 inches × 47 1/2 inches (260.4 × 120.7 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabThirma Phulkari, 19th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun, handwoven cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in darning, whip, and running stitches, 8 feet 5 inches × 58 inches (256.5 × 147.3 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection.

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabChope Phulkari, 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk embroidery in double running stitch, 9 feet 8 inches × 69 inches (294.6 × 175.3 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of PunjabSainchi Phulkari, Early 20th century. Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi. Handspun, handwoven plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning and chain stitches, 8 feet 3 inches × 52 inches (251.5 × 132.1 cm). The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection. (click for large image)

——————–

1947 to Today

When India gained independence from Great Britain in 1947, Punjab was divided—its western part in Pakistan and its eastern in India. The devastating results of Partition left many millions dead, injured, and displaced. Most families lost their heirloom phulkaris and few women had the time or facilities to embroider, apart from occasional commercial work. Over the past sixty years, Punjabis of all religions—Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs (a faith whose holy sites are located in Punjab)—have emigrated throughout South Asia and around the world. Today they are the largest South Asian diaspora. Phulkari embroidery has retained enormous emotional and symbolic significance for all Punjabis and it has been reenvisioned in many ways.

Thank you to The Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post.

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Open

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2016THIS OCTOBER: Explore. Discover. Enjoy.

Philadelphia’s Vibrant Visual Arts Community

Discover Philadelphia’s visual arts community this October with the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, a free citywide arts festival Oct 8 – 9 and Oct 22 – 23 #POSTPHL

 Explore open studios and art experiences in every Philly neighborhood this October with the Phl Open Studio Tours #POSTPHL www.philaopenstudios.org

Starting October 8, 2016 The Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) is pleased to present the 17th Annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. As Philadelphia’s premier fall visual arts festival, the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) presents a behind-the-scenes glimpse of visual artists at work through self-guided tours of artist studios and creative workspaces, hands-on workshops, gallery exhibitions, demonstrations, artist talks, special receptions, and more. Great for all ages, POST is the most comprehensive tour of artist studios in the region. For complete program information, including a list of more than 200 participating artists and community partners, neighborhood maps, artwork and studio images, and a detailed schedule of events, visit philaopenstudios.org.

Featured Exhibition Series

CFEVA and POST are pleased to feature several noteworthy exhibitions and events in all corners of the city, springing from ongoing collaborations with commercial galleries, local businesses, fellow arts organizations, educational institutions, and non-traditional studio spaces. Of the many corollary programs taking place throughout October, POST is proud to announce its 2016 Featured Exhibitions:

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2016, Nick Cassway Above the Sounds of Ideologies ClashingNick Cassway

Above the Sounds of Ideologies Clashing

An exhibition of work by Nick Cassway, the Antonia W. Hamilton Fellow

October 8th – November 10th, 2016

Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm

Opening Reception: October 13, 5 – 7pm

Open during POST West and POST East, noon – 6pm

The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, 237 S. 18th Street, Suite 3A, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Nick Cassway merges a fine arts practice with commercial design, iconography, and illustration to create vibrant works with bold and impactful imagery. Coinciding with POST, “Above the Sounds of Ideologies Clashing” will transform CFEVA’s gallery into an immersive room-sized installation. Inspired by the story of Johannes Kelpius, the Hermit of the Wissahickon, Cassway’s custom designed wall coverings explore systems of belief through an evolving scene of an encounter between a believer and a skeptic.

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2016, Kelly KozmaDance Magic Dance, Jump Magic Jump by Kelly Kozma

CFEVA@Sonesta

An Exhibition Highlighting Five Philadelphia Artists

January 15th – December 15th, 2016

Open during POST West and POST East, On view 24 hours

Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia, 1800 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Grab some food and drinks at the Sonesta Hotel’s Art Bar and see CFEVA@Sonesta: Highlighting Five Philadelphia Artists. This exhibition features work by: Kelly Kozma, Brienne RosnerKristin Schattenfield-Rein, Amy Stevens, Michael Yoder.

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2016, Kristen Schattenfield-ReinKristin Schattenfield-Rein

 ArtBox at Shirt Corner

An exhibition of work by Kristin Schattenfield-Rein

August 1st – October 14th, 2016, Open during POST West

ArtBox @ Shirt Corner, 259 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Kristin Schattenfield-Rein’s paintings utilize various mediums (epoxy resin, glass, sand, graphite flake and silvered tar) to produce a layered, reticulative effect. Rein’s current work adheres, just barely, to the convention of wall hangings—they creep past their edges to become sculptural and suggestive of something beyond the obvious. Kristin’s work is on view in the Art Box street level window gallery located in Old City on the north side of Market Street just east of 3rd Street.

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2016, Rob MillerAerospatial 14Rob Miller

POST—Philadelphia Artists in the Community

An Art Gallery at City Hall exhibition

October 10th – November 10th 2016, Monday – Friday, 10am–4pm

Art Gallery at City Hall, City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts,

Culture and the Creative Economy, City Hall, Room 116, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Celebrating the diversity of Philadelphia neighborhoods and the artisans that thrive within, “POST—Philadelphia Artists in the Community” will showcase works by selected POST participants in City Hall during the month of October. The exhibition will be organized by neighborhood, demonstrating the uniqueness and strength of our city’s artistic community.

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours 2016, Ben VoltaPattern Process, Ben Volta

Ben Volta: Pattern Process

A Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts exhibition

September 21st – November 20, 2016, Open during POST West and POST East

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10am–5pm, Wednesday 10am—9pm, Saturday—Sunday, 11am –5pm

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Alumni Gallery, Historic Landmark Building

118-128 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

www.pafa.org

Ben Volta (Certificate ‘02) creates intricate public murals and sculptures, working at the intersection of education, restorative justice, and urban planning. His practice stands on the belief that art can be a catalyst for change, within individuals as well as the institutional structures that surround them.

His exhibition in the Alumni Gallery at PAFA will draw from multiple projects created with students and recently incarcerated youth throughout the city. These projects use a collaborative drawing process to generate complex wholes that are more than the sum of their parts.

Thank you to Julia Fox of the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST), a program of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists for the content of this post.

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Vlisco

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StagePrinted Textile, 2005. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 12 feet × 47 1/2 inches (365.8 × 120.7 cm). Private Collection, ©Vlisco

Creative Africa, Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Through January 22, 2017

Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building

The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates West and Central African fashion and culture in an exhibition exploring the classic and contemporary looks of Vlisco, the oldest international textile brand that specializes in Dutch wax fabrics. From the earliest designs and most recognizable patterns, continuing through a selection of iconic styles that have been re-interpreted in a contemporary way, the exhibition will highlight a selection of the thousands of patterns Vlisco has produced for the African and diaspora markets.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StagePrinted Textile, 2005. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 12 feet × 47 1/2 inches (365.8 × 120.7 cm). Private Collection, ©Vlisco

Dilys Blum, The Museum’s Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles and organizer of this exhibition, said: “The wax-printed fabrics long associated with Central and West Africa have a surprising history that is truly global.  Many of the patterns shown in this display tell stories and convey images that reflect Africa’s past and reimagine its future. For this special presentation in Philadelphia, we are celebrating the transnational character of Vlisco by showing the company’s classic designs, these classics re-imagined, and new contemporary patterns, sharing how fashion designers in West Africa and other parts of the world use Vlisco wax fabrics today.”

When cloth leaves the factory it is generally identified only by a stock number. The women who trade in the open-air markets in African cities, and their customers, assign the patterns names inspired by current events, politics, religion, and material culture. The exhibition explores the ways in which such patterns acquire social meaning, status, and value and become culturally assimilated into African society, and examine how designs can have many interpretations depending on where they are used.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StagePrinted Textile, Late 20th century. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 36 × 47 1/2 inches (91.4 × 120.7 cm). Private Collection, © Vlisco

Among the classic patterns represented are the “Happy Family” egg motif, featuring an image of a hen surrounded by her chicks and chicks-to-be referencing the importance of family, and the “Fallen Tree” pattern that acts as a visual substitute for a proverb that teaches unity and strength in Ghana. The “Alphabet” design symbolizes the value that Africans place on education, and “Swallows”, a symbol of good luck, refers to the transience of riches. The classic “Swallows” pattern was worn by flight attendants for Air Afrique in the 1970s. The display will show how this particular pattern has been reinterpreted to include airplane imagery, a symbol of globalization.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage“La Famille” Printed Textile, 1952. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 18 feet × 47 1/4 inches (548.6 × 120 cm). Private Collection, © Vlisco

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage“Angelina” Printed Textile, 1962. Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846. Cotton plain weave, wax‑resist print, 70 × 48 1/4 inches (177.8 × 122.6 cm). Private Collection, © Vlisco

The “Eye” pattern, one of the most enduring European designs for the African market, appears in the exhibition in multiple variations and colors.  The original design of 1904 by the Haarlem Cotton Company was inspired by the Egyptian god Horus, a symbol of protection, royal power, and good health.  Some of the eye patterns were intended to silently communicate and identify with a woman’s family and marital relationships.  In Nigeria, the original Haarlem pattern is known as “Eyes”. In Côte d’Ivoire, it is called “Bull’s Eye” and is worn by a woman to show a man that she desires him.  Also in Côte d’Ivoire, the classic “Jumping Horse” pattern expresses rivalry between co-wives.  In Nigeria, Igbo women favor this design for family to express unity at their annual women’s meeting.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global StageDazzling Graphics Collection, 2011, Made by Vlisco, Helmond, Netherlands, Photograph courtesy of Vlisco

The exhibition will touch upon the rise of the most successful market women in Togo, called the Nana Benz, who traded in wax prints beginning in the 1930s. The Nana Benz were essential to the success or failure of the designs.  Wholesalers to other market traders, the women provided Vlisco agents with information on customer preferences. In return, the women were often given exclusive access to certain designs.  A playful design featuring the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star logo pays homage to these traders, as this was their car of choice and became a symbol of their success.  In another design, the Vlisco logo on the radiator grill replaces the car’s original trademark. 

Displayed on mannequins in the center of the gallery is an installation of contemporary designs using the wax fabrics as created by African, diaspora and other international designers. 

One of Nigeria’s foremost fashion designers, Lanre da Silva Ajayi, who is known for her ultra-feminine looks and elegant use of prints, has collaborated with Vlisco on numerous projects including a gala dress on view in the exhibition.  The designer’s ensemble is made in a limited-edition shimmering gold print embellished with the designer’s signature beads and sequins.

Owner and creative director Araba Stephens Akompi of the Ghanaian fashion house Stylista has reconfigured patterns showing a Spanish fan to create a flamenco-style dress with a distinctively African twist. Stylista sees this gala dress as an evolution of the traditional Ghanaian blouse with a matching skirt.

The exhibition features ensembles by Vlisco’s senior fashion designer from 2008 to 2016, Inge van Lierop, who was responsible for translating each seasonal concept into stylish ensembles used for marketing. A strapless, two-piece wedding dress made from two color ways of the same design is embellished with beads, as is the veil, which was embroidered in India. Deconstructed and made into a late 1960s-style mini dress that pays homage to the decade when the design first achieved popularity, the classic “Angelina” pattern associated with the dashiki a loose tunic worn by men and women is updated and re-colored in luminous pastels for a more contemporary look.

The fashions of Manish Arora, one of today’s most inspiring designers, fuse his Indian roots, global style, and contemporary popular culture.  This year, Arora has collaborated with Vlisco for his ready-to-wear collection shown recently in Paris and inspired by the American West.  For his ensemble on display, he has re-interpreted wax prints into knit fabrics. 

Ikiré Jones of Philadelphia, led by Nigerian-American menswear designer, Walé Oyéjidé, shows how the designs can be creatively cut and mixed together for unique looks.  His  hand-tailored trousers, and a jacket made of Vlisco fabric, are accessorized with a storytelling scarf.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage is one of five exhibitions in the Perelman Building this season, accompanied by related programs that feature a broad spectrum of the arts from across the African continent. They feature historical works of art as well as contemporary fashion, photography, design, and architecture. Each calls attention to the continuities and differences between African art forms over the centuries.

The related exhibitions are:

Look Again: Contemporary Perspectives on African Art, a major exhibition drawn from the collection of the Penn Museum (May 14 through December 4, 2016).

Threads of Tradition, focusing on the traditional patterns in West and Central African textiles and the techniques used to create them, including strip weaving, resist dyeing, piecing, appliqué, and embroidery (Through January 2017).

The Architecture of Francis Kéré: Building for Community, featuring a site-specific, immersive environment designed by this world-renowned Burkina-Faso-born architect (May 14–September 25, 2016).

Three Photographers/Six Cities presents an in-depth look at three photographers who create powerful pictures of African cities: Cairo, Egypt; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; Johannesburg, South Africa; Bamako, and Tombouctou (Timbuktu), Mali. From Akinbode Akinbiyi’s observation of urban centers and Seydou Camara’s examination of Islamic manuscripts to Ananias Léki Dago’s pictures of offbeat locales, the images offer unique perspectives on contemporary African experience (Through September 25, 2016).

Curator: Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles

Location: Joan Spain Gallery

About Vlisco

Vlisco, founded in 1846, began exporting factory printed cloth to West Africa around 1876. Over the years Vlisco absorbed several Dutch textile manufacturers that also produced wax prints for the market prior to World War I. Today it is the last surviving European wax-resist textile manufacturer. The Vlisco brand is manufactured in Helmond, Netherlands and is the premier brand of the Vlisco group which includes three other brands, GTP and Woodin made in Ghana and Uniwax produced in Cote d’Ivoire. Each brand caters to a distinct segment of the market.

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

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